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Quick Hits: Yum Brands To Start Counting Calories


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.


Come January 1st, 2011, you'll no longer be able to make a guilt-free trip to KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and A&W.

Yum Brands (YUM), parent company of the well-known fast food brands, plans to take the guesswork out of counting calories by voluntarily posting nutritional information on menu boards at its company-owned US restaurants. The information will begin appearing this year and the job will be completed in a little more than 2 years.

The calorie count will be based on individual servings rather than, say, an entire pizza or bucket of chicken.

Yum Brands has about 20,000 restaurants in the US and about 4,000 are company-owned. Franchisees will be encouraged to provide the same information.

But the information is now available through other sources. Health offers a handy calorie counter that covers major fast food chains, including Burger King (BKC) and McDonald's (MCD). A few clicks and -- gulp -- you can discover that a large A&W root beer contains 300 calories. Concerned about trans fat? A Calorie Counter tells you which fast food items to avoid.

Yum Brands congratulates itself on the decision to post the calorie count, calling it "the right leadership role." But it's late to the game. McDonald's and Burger King have long made such information available.

Does anyone care about calories when eating fast food?

It's hard to imagine even thinking about such guilt-inducing nonsense when chomping on a bacon double cheeseburger with extra mayonnaise. Hey, the heart attack can wait.

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